These unprecedented times call for unprecedented action, and the decision to host The Masters in November – away from its traditional April slot in the schedule – produced some eye-catching results that bettors can use when the tournament returns to its normal date in 2021.
Dustin Johnson was the victor in 2020, and you could see how much this major means to the players when the world number one, normally so calm and stoic, broke down in tears during the post-tournament press conference.
"Still kind of think it's a dream, but hopefully, it's not.”#themasters
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) November 16, 2020
His was a win born from elite-level quality in all departments of the game, and was further confirmation that when betting on potential Masters contenders they must be strong from tee-to-green and putting, too – something that eluded those backing Bryson DeChambeau’s power game to come up trumps in November. Incidentally, he has been pushed out to fourth-favourite in the latest golf odds for The Masters 2021, which is evidence of how little faith the bookmakers have in his all-or-nothing approach at Augusta.
Sadly, Swindon’s own David Howell won’t qualify for next year’s edition of the event but, nonetheless, here are five lessons that bettors can take from The Masters 2020.
#1 – The Cream Always Rises
For all the ups and downs of the typical golf leaderboard, when the dust settled on the standings at The Masters once again it became clear that the very best tend to thrive at Augusta National.
Alongside Johnson in the top 10 was a litany of former major champions – Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson and Patrick Reed and, in Jon Rahm, a player who will surely go on to win plenty.
Every other player inside that top 10 has won at least once on the PGA Tour, and that gives bettors a clue as to who they should be shortlisting for success.
#2 – Beauty and the Beast
There were some bold claims from Bryson DeChambeau in the lead-up to the 2020 Masters, not least the eyebrow-raising comment that, to his power game, Augusta was playing like a Par 67 rather than a Par 72.
Egg was aligned with Bryson’s face then when he limped home in tied 34th, and the reasons for that were simple. Yes, his huge driving simply wasn’t accurate enough to find the fairway prolifically, but his short game was way below par too.
For Dustin, he matched some booming drives with a classy touch on and around the greens, and that remains the key to conquering Augusta – quality in all aspects of the game. Bryson may have to rethink his strategy here…
It’s always an honor to compete in @TheMasters. The week didn’t go as we planned, but I’ll be working hard and am looking forward to returning in April. Congratulations to @DJohnsonPGA on a great performance and an unbelievable win.
— Bryson DeChambeau (@b_dechambeau) November 16, 2020
#3 – Rory’s Premature Implosion
Still seeking the green jacket to complete his career grand slam, many thought that Rory McIlroy would thrive in a crowd-less edition of the event – presumably, the pressure quotient would be lower.
But the Irishman once again fell foul to a worrying trend that is preventing him from competing seriously for majors right now. His Thursday 75 took his tally to 28 over par for the first round of majors he has played since 2015.
His final three rounds for the same stat? An incredible 56 under par, so until McIlroy can get out of the gate quicker, he will continue to struggle to convert at Augusta or in any other big event for that matter.
#4 – Speed Kings
With all the rain that fell during the week – to add to the traditional November conditions in Augusta – it’s no big surprise that the typically slick greens at Augusta ran a bit slower than usual.
So don’t read too much into that when analysing the 2021 edition of The Masters: by April, expect the Bentgrass greens to be as razor-sharp as ever.
#5 – A Young Man’s Game
Dustin Johnson was aged 36 at the time he sunk the winning putt in his Masters triumph.
And that continues a pretty simple – if slightly ageist – trend at Augusta of players under the age of 40 triumphing.
The average age of Masters winners – both all-time and in the past ten years – is 32, and so Tiger Woods’ victory in 2019 remains a complete anomaly.
The Masters remains a young man’s game…something to consider ahead of drawing up your betting shortlist ahead of the 85th edition of the legendary tournament in April.